BCRR Winter Series still going strong after 45 years

Runners take part in a past BCRR Winter Series race at Tyler State Park (Photo by Corey Steiner).

Jimmy Carter was president, gas cost 70 cents a gallon and John Travolta was dancing up a storm on the stage of Saturday Night Fever.

The year was 1978, the United States running boom was getting into full swing and a handful of local striders decided to put something together called the Bucks County Roadrunners Club.

One of the club’s first projects was to assemble a set of races which would keep members active throughout the calendar.

They called it the Winter Series and 45 years later it’s still going strong.

Held at Tyler State Park/Newtown-Richboro each Sunday (along with a New Year’s Day event), the Winter Series offers a variety of competitions at different lengths and terrains in 11 races from December through February.

What started out as races with modest fields in the ‘70s have now grown to 300 to 400 athletes each week.

The 2022-23 Winter Series will be open for business shortly. With restrictions from the pandemic continuing to lighten, the Series is starting to look more and more like it did back in 2019 prior to the health crisis.

Here is this winter’s schedule (all races start at 9 a.m. with the exception of the Cham-Pain race, which has a starting time yet to be announced):

>Dec. 11: Covered Bridge 5K.

>Dec. 18: Jingle Bell 5.3-Miler.

>Jan. 1: Champ-Pain 5K.

>Jan. 8: Tyler Challenge 10K.

>Jan. 15: Wild Card (Distance to be determined).

>Jan. 22: Polar Bear 8-Miler.

>Jan. 29: Honest Abe 4.6-Miler.

>Feb. 5: Terrible Tyler 15K.

>Feb. 12: Pick Your Way 5.3-Miler.

>Feb. 19: Half-Marathon (13.1 miles).

>Feb. 26: Staggered Start 4.6-Miler.

Registration is tentatively set to open Thursday, Oct. 27 or shortly after. To register for BCRR membership or individual races, visit the bcrrclub.com website.

Winter Series director John O’Brien said last year’s series was the “new normal for us.’’ The post-race food spread began to resemble what it looked like way back in 2019 and so forth.

What keeps runners coming back year after year, even when some Sunday mornings are rather frigid?

“I think it’s just the atmosphere of getting people out of bed on Sunday mornings,’’ O’Brien said. “In winter, people get used to staying inside. People like to be able to get out and mingle with each other. People want to get out and both exercise and socialize for a couple hours.’’

Including repeat participants, the WS generates more than 2,000 registrations for the entire event.

If you haven’t experienced a Winter Series race yet, we suggest you do. Chances are you will be going back for more.

>Thanksgiving Day races remain popular

Also coming up on the BCRR schedule are the Thanksgiving Day 5-mile and 5K races set for Thursday, Nov. 24 in Langhorne.

O’Brien said the two events usually draw a total of at least 1,000 runners. That’s close to the peak of 1,100 several years ago.

“Last year was pretty close to normal,’’ O’Brien said. “Numbers-wise, I think we got back to where we wanted to be; a little bit lower but not much.’’

The holiday race has a new title sponsor, Peruzzi Auto Group.

“They were happy to take on the role this year,’’ O’Brien said. “It’s important to us to have the race and give back to the community. So it’s good to have a title sponsor which is local to have the community involved.’’

The T-Day event also has been around for several decades and continues to grow. One of the attraction points is that it falls on perhaps the best running holiday of the year for the cool (not hot or cold) weather conditions and scenic course, which traverses a good portion of Core Creek Park.

“And one of the things we’ve added this year is a family aspect,’’ O’Brien said. “We’ve started a family competition. So the fastest families for the 5K and the 5 miles both get awards (gift certificates to local restaurants).

To register, visit the bcrrclub.com website.

It’s a chance to run in the morning and eat guilt-free in the afternoon.

“You get more people back together on the holiday,’’ O’Brien said. “And it’s sort of ‘If I run now, I can eat later!’ ”

Race calendar

Saturday

Brain Injury Challenge: Race for Recovery 5K, 9 a.m., Tyler State Park, Richboro. Contact https://biapa.org

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About Wayne Fish 1873 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.